Bias Time (7 of 9)

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[Spiritual enlightenment]

Yes, it’s bias time again. The seventh of the series of biases that you, yes you, have. Even if you are aware of these, and even if you consciously try to correct for them to be, heh, ‘objective’, as in what e.g. auditors pursue, you will fail.

Informal fallacies

  • Argument from repetition (argumentum ad nauseam): signifies that it has been discussed extensively (possibly by different people) until nobody cares to discuss it anymore
  • Appeal to ridicule: a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made by presenting the opponent’s argument in a way that makes it appear ridiculous
  • Argument from ignorance (appeal to ignorance): The fallacy of assuming that something is true/false because it has not been proven false/true. For example: “The student has failed to prove that he didn’t cheat on the test, therefore he must have cheated on the test.”
  • Begging the question (petitio principii): where the conclusion of an argument is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises
  • Circular cause and consequence: where the consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause
  • Continuum fallacy (fallacy of the beard): appears to demonstrate that two states or conditions cannot be considered distinct (or do not exist at all) because between them there exists a continuum of states. According to the fallacy, differences in quality cannot result from differences in quantity.
  • Correlation does not imply causation (cum hoc ergo propter hoc): a phrase used in the sciences and the statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not imply that one causes the other
  • Demanding negative proof: attempting to avoid the burden of proof for some claim by demanding proof of the contrary from whoever questions that claim
  • Equivocation (No true Scotsman): the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time)
  • Etymological fallacy: which reasons that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day meaning.

Fallacies of distribution

  • Division: where one reasons logically that something true of a thing must also be true of all or some of its parts
  • Composition: where one reasons logically that something true of part of a whole must also be true of the whole
  • Ecological fallacy: inferences about the nature of specific individuals are based solely upon aggregate statistics collected for the group to which those individuals belong
  • Fallacy of many questions (complex question, fallacy of presupposition, loaded question, plurium interrogationum): someone asks a question that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved. This fallacy is often used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner’s agenda.
  • Fallacy of the single cause (“joint effect”, or “causal oversimplification”): occurs when it is assumed that there is one, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.
  • False attribution: occurs when an advocate appeals to an irrelevant, unqualified, unidentified, biased or fabricated source in support of an argument
  • Contextomy (Fallacy of quoting out of context): refers to the selective excerpting of words from their original linguistic context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning
  • False compromise/middle ground: asserts that a compromise between two positions is correct
  • Gambler’s fallacy: the incorrect belief that the likelihood of a random event can be affected by or predicted from other, independent events
  • Historian’s fallacy: occurs when one assumes that decision makers of the past viewed events from the same perspective and having the same information as those subsequently analyzing the decision. It is not to be confused with presentism, a mode of historical analysis in which present-day ideas (such as moral standards) are projected into the past.
  • Incomplete comparison: where not enough information is provided to make a complete comparison
  • Inconsistent comparison: where different methods of comparison are used, leaving one with a false impression of the whole comparison
  • Intentional fallacy: addresses the assumption that the meaning intended by the author of a literary work is of primary importance
  • Loki’s Wager: the unreasonable insistence that a concept cannot be defined, and therefore cannot be discussed.
  • Moving the goalpost (raising the bar): argument in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded
  • Perfect solution fallacy: where an argument assumes that a perfect solution exists and/or that a solution should be rejected because some part of the problem would still exist after it was implemented
  • Post hoc ergo propter hoc: also known as false cause, coincidental correlation or correlation not causation.
  • Proof by verbosity (argumentum verbosium) (proof by intimidation): submission of others to an argument too complex and verbose to reasonably deal with in all its intimate details. see also Gish Gallop and argument from authority.
  • Prosecutor’s fallacy: a low probability of false matches does not mean a low probability of some false match being found
  • Psychologist’s fallacy: occurs when an observer presupposes the objectivity of his own perspective when analyzing a behavioral event
  • Regression fallacy: ascribes cause where none exists. The flaw is failing to account for natural fluctuations. It is frequently a special kind of the post hoc fallacy.
  • Reification (hypostatization): a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating as a “real thing” something which is not a real thing, but merely an idea.
  • Retrospective determinism (it happened so it was bound to)
  • Special pleading: where a proponent of a position attempts to cite something as an exemption to a generally accepted rule or principle without justifying the exemption
  • Suppressed correlative: an argument which tries to redefine a correlative (two mutually exclusive options) so that one alternative encompasses the other, thus making one alternative impossible
  • Well travelled road effect: estimates of elapsed time is shorter for familiar routes as compared to unfamiliar routes which are of equal or lesser duration.
  • Wrong direction: where cause and effect are reversed. The cause is said to be the effect and vice versa.

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